If you're one of those people who believe that this is a revenge game, I'm going to have to stop you right there. It's not. It's actually not even close to a revenge game. When Pittsburgh faced the Bruins for the first time after being swept in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, people thought it was a "revenge" game and we called it stupid. If Pittsburgh wins, the Bruins still have a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
If Boston wins this afternoon, Chicago still has the 2013 Stanley Cup.
Okay, now that all of that is put aside - I still fucking hate Chicago.
You all know about my immeasurable hate for Patrik Kane - his smarmy fucking attitude, his dumb fucking face, everything about the guy screams I probably have had a bout of herpes once or twice before and even though they are dormant and won't tell you until after I spit my seed in your belly button.
And the shitty thing about them is that they're good. Like really good. Obviously I could just post the standings and tell you that they're a top Western Conference team. Or that they're first in goals per game at 3.53. Or that they have a top 5 power play.
But let's dig a little deeper.
The Blackhawks are second in the NHL in corsi for at 55.5% at even strength, which ranks them second in the NHL behind LA (no surprise there). What's that mean? They're the second best possession team in the NHL. This shouldn't really be a shock to anyone if you've watched the Blackhawks over the past few seasons.
With all that said, they still have Corey Crawford in net.
Unfortunately I have Crawford in a few fantasy leagues and he's been struggling as of late - which is a good sign for the Bruins. Honestly, if Chicago was smart they would put rookie Antti Raanta in net. I'm pretty high on Raanta anyways.
On the season Crawford is 34th in GAA, posting a 2.47 GAA and he ranks 48th with a .910 SV%. I'm not too sure what's going on with Crawford. It could be the injury that had him out for 3-4 weeks (I believe). You could give the defense some blame, but I don't know where that is justified. If you look at shots against, Chicago has allowed 637 shots, which is fourth fewest in the NHL.
Boston is going to have to bring it man. With the Bruins defense seemingly falling apart day after day - pairing like Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski being used regularly and Dougie Hamilton in and out of the quiet room - they'll need to rely on Tuukka Rask or one-eyed Willy.
Also Chicago can be scored on. There's the issue with Crawford (who I believe will start, although a starter hasn't been named yet) and Chicago is 15th in the NHL in goals allowed per game at 2.62. So defensively they're middle of the pack. Of course, this stat can be a little misleading at the Bruins are third in the NHL at GA/G.
Out: Dougie Hamilton (concussion), Chris Kelly (ankle), Jordan Caron (talent)
Unknown: Starting Goaltender, Where Adam McQuaid's "talent" went
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Carl Soderberg - Ryan Spooner - Loui Eriksson
Shawn Thornton - Greg Campbell - Dan Paille
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Matt Bartkowski - Torey Krug
Adam McQuaid - Kevan Miller
Puck Drop: 12:30 EST
Radio: 100.7 WZLX
Know The Enemy
This is where I put the banner for Blackhawks Down Low. Oh wait...
The Committed Indian
Still the best image from the Stanley Cup Finals. Poor bastard.